Owning a home as co-owner with family members or others
The cost of residential property on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands has increased dramatically. Many people are not able to buy a home, or to cover the costs of owning a home, on their own.
There is growing interest for two or more people to purchase and own a residential property together, as “co-owners”. For various reasons, multiple branches of a family often want to share a property, whether as units in one house or in separate buildings on the same property.
In the past, co-owners were usually family, and this is still popular, but persons who are not related can also be successful as co-owners.
Whether or not co-owners are related, we strongly recommend that they make a written agreement to govern their ownership and use of the property. Verbal understandings regarding real property may not be legally enforceable. Co-owners who do end up in a dispute often discover that their legal remedies are limited. Litigation can be time-consuming, expensive, and extremely damaging to relationships.
A co-ownership agreement provides valuable clarity, prompts early discussions that could otherwise turn into disputes later, and alleviates many risks that can arise for co-owners.
A legal co-ownership agreement will cover matters such as:
- how decisions are made about the property’s development and use;
- who is responsible to pay various expenses (or how they are shared);
- who is responsible for payment of the mortgage;
- whether a co-owner can share/rent their unit, and keep the rent;
- what happens if a co-owner wants to sell, and how proceeds are paid out;
- any difference between legal (on title) and beneficial ownership; and
- how any disputes that arise will be resolved quickly and cost-effectively.
We have helped many families, friends, and business associates get through the process of making a co-ownership agreement, and watched them share their ownership successfully.
Contact Beacon Law Centre for trusted advice on co-ownership agreements.